Tongue Morphology

January 22, 2015

Tongue morphology is used by many experienced acupuncturists to determine underlying conditions and pathological states. Clinicians look at the size, shaped, color, and amount of coating on the tongue. Listed below are characteristic findings and their interpretation.

Thick coating – general pathology in internal organs

Yellow coating – overabundance of heat; think sand on a hot beach

Raw and peeled patches – kidney pathology

Red tip – heart meridian disturbances

Scalloped edges – spleen qi deficiency

Cracks and fissures – dryness and yin deficiency

Midline groove – can be congenital

Geographic tongue (extremely cracked and fissured) – normal in 1%-3% of population, also associated with celiac sprue